Wednesday, April 4

My Frugal Miser - March Expenses: $10,598

I paid my 2017 income tax at the end of March.  I was supposed to make quarterly payments so there is also a penalty built into the tax.  I also spent a lot on food in March.  Much of that was at the grocery store, but we ate out more than we should have also.  Lastly, I bought $800 worth of gas gift cards to take advantage of my credit card's 5% cash back. 

The $200 spent on vacationing was to upgrade to Big Front Seats on Spirit airlines.  I redeemed points for two flights to Las Vegas in April.  Since the flights and hotels cost nothing out of pocket I decided to splurge on larger seats at the front of the plane.

March Expenses:  $10,598

$1,857 Auto ($980 for gas, $877 for service)
($73) Bank Fees
$0 Clothing
$0 Computer
$82 Entertainment (movies, gambling, alcohol) 
$507 Food
$0 Gifts Given
$75 Household/Housing/Home Repair
$0 Homeowner's Insurance (annual payment)
$28 Health and Dental Insurance (prepaid a portion of 2018 health insurance)
$0 Investment Expense
$16 Interest Expense*
$19 Medical/Dental
$27 Miscellaneous
$0 Personal Care
$35 Subscriptions
$7,447 Taxes
$77 Sharing Economy Expenses (tolls, car washes, etc.)
$0 Unreimbursed Employee Expenses
$301 Utilities
$200 Vacation

*Interest expense includes student loans and the loan on my car.  As both rates are below 2%, I am completely comfortable paying the interest each month and investing the money that I would otherwise use to pay off these loans.  

Monday, April 2

My Frugal Miser - March Income: $14,072

Income was excellent in March.  Rental income was strong.  A new tenant moved into the empty townhouse.  My most expensive property is still vacant but is now move-in ready.  Rideshare income was strong.  On St. Patrick's Day, between Uber, Lyft and Amazon deliveries, I grossed over $750!  Because I live in a tourist area, I benefited from the number of events taking place in Tampa Bay as well as spring breakers.  I did not do as many meetings last month; most of my job income came from rideshare and Amazon.

March Income: $14,072

$109 Mystery Shopping
$622 Meeting Jobs
$104 Reimbursed Job Expenses
$1,246 Uber
$1,296 Lyft
$0 Postmates
$2,632 Amazon Deliveries
$7,655 Rental Income
$30 Interest Income
$378 Other Sources

Investment Accounts Change in Value:  $11,253

My investments did great.  A put option for the company that owns MoviePass is currently up over 130% from my purchase price.  I also made over $1,000 on a short-term investment in a beat-up mall REIT. 

  • I don't include transactions in my retirement accounts.  This includes rental income, dividends and capital gains and losses.

Friday, March 9

How I will increase Passive Recurring Income by $2,300

This week I have established plans that will help me worry less about finances and enjoy life more.  By 2020 I want to increase passive recurring income by $2,300.  Here's how I will do this:

Real Estate

We're going to buy a new house.  I've started looking at new-home communities in the Tampa Bay area.  This will be our new house, not a rental.  Why?  I want to turn our current house into an AirBnB.  I'm intrigued by the potential income of short-term rentals and think it could be a good bit higher than renting out my house in a 12-month lease.  I also like the idea of being able to constantly maintain the house.  We've had some big surprises when tenants move out.  The house we worked on last month required close to $20,000 in repairs to make it rent-ready.  If my house is turning over on a weekly basis, I can keep it clean, fresh and maintained regularly.

Afterwards, I will decide what our next move should be.  If the AirBnB is a success, the next property I buy will be specifically for short-term rentals.  If it doesn't pan out, I would look at other options.


This is the truly-passive breed of investing.  The AirBnB will require a little effort, although most of that effort, such as keeping the place clean, could be hired out.  Investing in dividend-paying stocks requires almost no ongoing effort at all.  The plan is to regularly invest excess cash flow over the next two years into income-producing companies.

I'm really excited about the thought of moving into a new home.  It's always fun to look at houses and then start fresh.  I'll keep updating you guys on our home search.

Wednesday, March 7

Towards Prosperity

We're doing okay financially.  We have 10 rental properties, a six-figure stock portfolio, and we live in a mortgage-free home.  But we're not quite financially independent.  I couldn't stop working and just live off our assets.  It's time to change that.  I'm going to have fun doing so.

Having passive recurring income is the way I will reach financial independence.  I figure if I can consistently bring in $10,000 per month in passive recurring income, I will have enough to both live on and to add to the nest egg for future needs. 

Passive Recurring Income - Today

  • Dividends from stock:  $1,500/month
  • Fully occupied rental properties (including the ones held in my retirement LLC):  $8,200/month
At first it appears that I almost have the $10K/month I need.  The problem is, the rental properties are rarely fully occupied.  When they are, there is bound to be a tenant who is behind on rent.  Likewise, dividends can be cut, which is out of my control.  Therefore, I need a cushion above and beyond the stated $10,000 goal that guarantees I always make my monthly goal.

Passive Recurring Income - 2020

  • Dividends from stock:  $2,000/month
  • Rental properties:  $10,000/month
I'm giving myself less than two years to increase passive recurring income by $2,300/month.  Stay tuned.